The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-20-2001, 12:23 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 48,781
I'm on holiday so I may not be able to check for an answer for a while.

I've been watching coverage of the fires in the Pacific Northwest and the news said that the Chinook and Skycrane helicopters are costing the state of Oregon $9,000 per hour each. Now the helis I fly are considerably smaller and cost $180 per hour. How much does it actually cost to operate a Chinook or a Skycrane? Are the people of Oregon being reemed; or is $9,000/hr. a fair price for such a complex helicopter and the extremely experienced crews that fly them?

(Hm. Sounds like a Great Debate. But the GQ is "How much does it cost to operate a large helicopter?")
__________________
'Never say "no" to adventure. Always say "yes". Otherwise you'll lead a very dull life.' -- Commander Caractacus Pott, R.N. (Retired)

'Do not act incautiously when confronting a little bald wrinkly smiling man.' -- Lu-Tze
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-20-2001, 12:37 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: New England
Posts: 32,734
Virtually all the civilian Chinooks and Sea Knights now in service are operated by Columbia Helicopters. Most Sky Cranes belong to [url=http://www.erickson-aircrane.com/]Erickson Air Crane[url]. As prospering private companies, they aren't likely to tell us much about their costs, just their prices (which are their customers' costs, and maybe that's what you see). As virtual monopolies, with customers who are generally willing to pay for their unique capabilities, they can charge pretty high rates anyway.

These are more complicated machines by far than your Robertson, they take much more maintenance, they've been out of production for a long time so parts volume is low, and the overall acquisition cost for each was pretty high to start with. Spare parts markups from the manufacturers are pretty steep (I work for one). Few civilian pilots are type-rated in them, few mechanics are qualified on them, and they don't work for free.

Etc.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-20-2001, 12:37 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 25,798
I can't give you an authoritative answer, but at I site I worked on in 1997-8 in Peru, a natural gas field being developed by Shell, they used Chinooks to ferry big equipment to the test wells. We were told the Chinook cost "$10,000 every time it left the ground." People and supplies were sent in by smaller choppers.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-20-2001, 12:37 PM
Triskadecamus Triskadecamus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
More people, more maintenance, and such, sure.

But, I think one of the other factors is that you just don't get as many "paid hours" per capital investment dollar, over the lifetime of the craft. That would multiply the effective cost of all the other differences.

Tris
-----------------
"No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris ... [because] no known motor can run at the requisite speed for four days without stopping." ~ Orville Wright ~
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-20-2001, 12:39 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: New England
Posts: 32,734
Fixed link:
Most Sky Cranes belong to Erickson Air Crane

Also, you fly a Robinson, not a Robertson, right? Different firm. Sorry.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-20-2001, 12:41 PM
Ringo Ringo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Posts: 11,261
Well, I found a CH54D Skycrane operating out of Cougar, Washington available for $7,400/hr.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-20-2001, 02:38 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 25,525
Actually, I would have thought that $9,000 per hour for a Chinook was a low estimate. Those things are huge maintenance hogs, and burn an ungodly amount of fuel. A Hercules which burns much less gas and is way easier on maintenance costs about $6,000 per hour. Of course, that's military money, so you can figure that private operation would be somewhat cheaper.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:56 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.